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Olympique Lyonnais

Ligue 1 Performance Index: Balotelli gets candid but Dembele the top man as Lyon roar

11:00 EAT 05/03/2019
Moussa Dembele Lyon 2018-19
The former Celtic man's brilliant double caught the eye over the weekend, while Nabil Fekir and Mario Balotelli also excelled

Moussa Dembele played a starring role as Lyon strengthened their grip on third place in Ligue 1 with a thrilling 5-1 victory over Toulouse on Sunday.

The former Celtic man scored a double as Bruno Genesio’s side recorded their biggest win of the season thanks to a litany of brilliant individual efforts.

Dembele, though, was the star man, coming out on top of the Ligue 1 Performance Index, which is devised by Opta and gives each player in the division a score out of 100 depending on how they have performed during their matches. His score of 95.7 was an impressive one indeed.

The centre forward gave a thoroughly eye-catching display and put OL clear in the match by scoring their fourth. He gathered possession close to the halfway line, spinning to face goal as he did so. From there, he showcased his pace and power as he blew by a defender before planting a cool left-footed finish into the corner.

Four minutes later, he had his ninth Ligue 1 goal of the season as he steered home a cross from Nabil Fekir from close range.

The playmaker missed a handful of matches due to a muscular problem but was back to his absolute best at Parc OL on Sunday. Indeed, his brilliant ball juggling to win a penalty that he converted shortly before the break might just have been the highlight moment of the match.

His excellence was highlighted by the fact he claimed fourth spot on the Ranking for this week.

Bertrand Traore was the other Lyon player to barge into the Top 10, finishing one spot below Fekir after grabbing his side’s second with a cross-cum-shot from fully 35 metres out.

Finishing second this week, meanwhile, is under-rated Angers winger Flavien Tait. He scored twice in the first half against Monaco, the first provoked by a brilliant run that accounted for four defenders, while the second was an opportunist strike from the edge of the area.

Angers were unable to see the game out, however. Radamel Falcao responded twice in the second half for Leonardo Jardim’s rapidly improving outfit. This contribution saw the Colombian hitman finish eighth in the ranking this week.

Completing the top three, meanwhile, is Reims’ Mathieu Cafaro, who also helped his team recover from a couple of goals down to secure a point, this time against Amiens. The in-form 21-year-old only played nine minutes but his contribution was profound, as he scored a brilliant shot from the edge of the box, sparking raucous celebrations as his side’s unlikely push for Europe goes on.

Nice are among their challengers for a Europa League berth and, following yet another 1-0 win for Patrick Vieira’s side, they have two players in the Top 10 this week. The higher rated of those is Youcef Atal, who typically plays full-back but was employed as a winger against Strasbourg and justified his selection by scoring the only goal of the game.

Malang Sarr, meanwhile, was their outstanding defensive presence on the left of the back four and has snuck in at 10th.

Casimir Ninga, who scored the opening goal in Caen’s 2-1 home loss to Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, finished seventh in the standings while a rejuvenated Mario Balotelli came in ninth after scoring the first in Marseille’s 2-0 home success over Saint-Etienne.

Next weekend, the Italian will have the opportunity to continue his excellent run against his former club, Nice, when they meet in a derby at Stade Velodrome in the highlight encounter of Round 28.

Elsewhere, Monaco host Bordeaux in what should be an eye-catching Saturday evening affair, while Lille face a very difficult trip to Saint-Etienne.